In the aftermath of Alan Burgess' retirement on Sept. 19, Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District board members appointed an acting Chief Executive Officer to take the reigns. Christine Sherrill, who was working as the hospital's privacy officer, is currently filling the void.
Sherrill has worked primarily in health information management through the 39 years of her employment with various hospitals. She has spent 13 of those years at Tehachapi Hospital.
"Christine Sherrill is no mystery," hospital board chair Dr. Sam Conklin said. "She has been in the hospital a long time...She's an honest employee and faithful."
Sherrill steps in at an especially busy time for the hospital, with the ongoing construction of the new hospital, changing dynamics in the pharmacy with the implementation of a new supervisory system, and difficulties filling position vacancies, especially those in the coding department.
"I was very flattered, and surprised; didn't see it coming, that's for sure," Sherrill said of her temporary appointment. "But I've had a good relationship with the board....Right now, I'm signing a lot of things, reviewing a lot of things; as I see it, just keep things together and keep things rolling."
Admitting the difficulties of the CEO position, Sherrill added that she would be much more overwhelmed if not for the support of the hospital staff.
So far, Sherrill said, hospital human resources staff have received eight applications for the CEO position, and the hospital has not yet advertised the opening. But her resume will not be among them, she said.
"I have no desire to keep this position," she said, chuckling.
Having discussed the issue with the hospital board members recently, Sherrill said they plan to hire an interim CEO, then use a headhunter to seek a permanent candidate. Conklin confirmed the tentative plan.
"That is the usual progression," Conklin said.
Sherrill said, "It is possible that whoever is in that interim spot could end up the permanent, but that just depends on the person."